Technology and creativity are two of the driving forces behind product development, and judging by the stone and tile collections that have been introduced this year, manufacturers have been diligently working to create unique product lines that intrigue and inspire architects and designers. An assortment of the newest stone and tile products to hit the market were on display at two large exhibitions that took place this spring -- The Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS), which was held at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL, and Coverings, a stone and tile exhibition held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.
Back in March, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a guided quarry tour in Texas, which was hosted by the Marble Institute of America (MIA). This was the third MIA-hosted trip I have taken in the past year, and at the conclusion of each tour, I always walk away with a sense of awe.
Located just several miles from the city of San Sebastián in Spain's Basque country is Chillida-Leku -- a sculpture museum paying tribute to the work of one of the great 21st-century sculptors, Eduardo Chillida. But this museum, which sits within a forest filled with Oak and Beech trees, varies drastically from typical art institutions. Large sculptural works -- made of materials such as marble, granite and Corten steel -- stretch high into the sky and are displayed throughout the sprawling grounds. And while these works are intriguing and awe-inspiring enough, another attraction on the site is a 16th-century stone farmhouse, which the artist restored himself and which houses its own collection of artwork.
Celebrating its 26th year, Cevisama, the International Ceramic Tile and Bath Furnishings show, was held from February 5 to 9 in Valencia, Spain. And in keeping with tradition, the 2008 edition was a showcase of new and innovative product lines -- particularly in the ceramic tile sector. In total, 150 of the exhibitors were Tile of Spain's branded manufacturers, who belong to the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer's Association (ASCER).
The AIA Board of Directors has awarded the 2008 AIA Gold Medal to Renzo Piano, Hon. FAIA. Piano has been internationally renowned for his array of outstanding grand-scale projects in Europe and the U.S. The AIA Gold Medal, voted on annually, is the highest honor the AIA confers on an individual. The Gold Medal honors an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. The award was presented at the American Architectural Foundation's Accent on Architecture Gala, held February 22, 2008, at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.
Perhaps no one knows better than you that the use of natural stone has skyrocketed in the last decade, particularly for interiors. Stone is being used in ways it never has before, largely due to advancements in technology that allow for variations in fabrication. Additionally, the cost of Genuine Stone® such as marble and granite has come down as a percentage of building costs. To specify stone for a project means to choose a naturally beautiful, unique and durable material.
Although the use of stone for exterior applications dates back centuries, it is still a common practice today. The material is not only durable, but it contains a timeless appearance that is often desired for both residential and commercial designs. Additionally, stone can often aid in synchronizing a structure with its environmental surroundings. And more and more, choosing regional stone that is in close proximity to a project's site has become an important factor in material selection. Whatever the case, architects and designers continue to discover innovative ways to engage stone to its fullest potential.
Architects and designers alike are finding that by using stone and tile in complementary ways -- such as featuring similar materials, flowing patterns or a monochromatic palette -- designs can be subtly carried throughout a home's entirety, creating an even transition from one room to another. More specifically, the designs of kitchens and bathrooms, ideal spaces for stone and tile features, can essentially tie a home together.
In recent years, the word "green" has become an increasingly popular word in our vocabulary -- both personally and professionally. Many associations are working to conceive new ideas that will help in preserving our environment. In particular, one way to accomplish this is by promoting the use of environmentally friendly products.
For 150 years, a classic 18th century Italian villa -- known simply as "Villa Novare" -- has been a worldwide symbol for the Bertani Winery and its renowned collection of products. And inside the winery itself, the abundant stonework has actually played a useful role in the winemaking process.